Jazz Vocals

Setting A New Standard

18 AUG 09 ANNE FARNSWORTH

Herb Alpert, the chart-topping trumpeter and powerful record executive, could sit back and manage the fruits of his prodigious career. Instead, he continues to explore the boundaries between Latin, pop and jazz, creating a hybrid that's both accessible and musically satisfying. Anything Goes - Live, on which he pairs with vocalist Lani Hall, is his 47th release and it's a winner.

Working in an intimate quintet format, this CD was recorded live at several nationally known jazz spots. The 14 tracks are old standards, precisely rearranged to add new excitement without blurring the beauty of the source material. There's an art to that -- changing a song simply for the sake of change can come off hollow and contrived. No chance of that here, every song clicks with an "Ah, genius!" perfection.

"Laura" opens with an upbeat groove by pianist Bill Cantos before morphing into a samba led by Alpert's cool horn. The normally honky-tonk "Anything Goes" floats slowly over a background theme reminiscent of Monk's Misterioso.

Singer Lani Hall's voice will sound familiar. As a part of Sergio Mendes' Brasil '66, she was lead vocalist on classics like "Fool on The Hill" and "The Look Of Love." Her relaxed style melds perfectly with Alpert's warm tone. Off-stage, for the last 35 years or so, she's also Mrs. Herb Alpert. Musical marriage, indeed.

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